Friday, 30 November 2012

My Neighborhood

The DC city council has been blasted over the last couple of months because of these increasing number of traffic tickets via speed cameras.  Since 2008 when they installed their cameras....the city of DC....has made roughly $194 million in fines.  You can figure forty million a year is rolling in....easy money as we'd say in Bama.

The hostility of the fines (roughly $120 a ticket) finally got to the city council.  So they made a decision this week....to lessen the fee to roughly $75.

Naturally, you'd start to feel better about this.  But they turned around and agreed to add twenty-seven more cameras.  So, things would spread out, and the amount of money coming in would be roughly the same.

The cost of running the camera system?  It's a floating deal...roughly twenty percent of ticket income is operational cost (going to the company that manages the cameras).  So in a good year (like 2011), the city made $55 million on gross revenue, and the operating cost was near $21 million).

There's roughly 400k tickets that were issued in 2012 for speeding in the district....a six by six mile area.  You can figure the numbers here, but it's safe to say that a ticket is issued every few seconds in DC on average.

It's safe to say that if the public ever figures out this whole game and just starts to drive 3 mph under the speed limit....it'd only take a month or two for the operators of the cameras to get nervous.  Just a twenty percent cut in tickets would be serious....but if you had a eighty percent cut in tickets....it'd destroy the whole business model, and the profit mechanism of the city.

Course, this is DC, and no one ever gets smart about things like this.  They just whine, and life goes on....speeding away.

My Neighborhood

Across the river, into DC....folks woke up yesterday with new statistical news.  DC has the lowest high school graduation rate of any state/district...in America.  They stand at 59 percent of the kids graduating.

The defense of this?  Well....we had a city council guy who stood up and spoke on this fact that DC is a very unique urban school district....as compared against rural school districts across America.  I stood there for a minute....trying to figure out the meaning of that.  He can only mean that you'd be better off in some poor county district in Alabama....than in DC, because of the rural situation.  That logic only holds water, if you've smoked a bit of weed or had a couple of double-shots of Jacky D's.

After living around the region for three years, I can offer two observations on this topic.

First, DC spends a ton of money on teachers within the school district.  But if you look at past reports....probably a quarter of teachers are either unqualified for their jobs or poor leaders in the classroom.  It's like paying a bunch of folks to produce light-bulbs but customers complain that forty percent of the bulbs never work after buying them.  Usually, you'd fire your folks at the light-bulb factory, but in DC's case...you just give your folks pay-raises 

Second, to be kind of honest....if you have any significant means of capital and live in DC.....then your kid doesn't attend a public school there.  They go to a private school.  If you did move into the region and want your kid to attend public school....then you tend to move into Virginia....not DC.  So to be truthful....the DC crowd is stuck with lower-income kids only in their school system.  If you suddenly put 4k upper-class kids into the DC system....the statistics would ramp up within one year.  But that's never going to happen.

So when your discover your local school has a graduation rate of 92-percent....you ought to be patting those guys on the back and being glad you don't live in DC.